App to drive garbage separation in Bangalore
Updated: Aug 16, 2018
Reimagining waste idea came from a social hackathon organised in April this year
Date: December 15 2016
Come January, 750 households in Domlur will get a QR code and be geo-tagged on a central database. Pourakarmikas will record their attendance at every house by scanning the code with a mobile application and rate its level of waste segregation.
In addition to ensuring that no house is missed, this new technology will also identify households that do not segregate their garbage. At the citizen's end, the app helps track the local waste collector.
This pilot project is being implemented by a group that calls itself Waste Samaritans. They were the winning team at the `REimagiNEWaste', a hackathon organised in April by Waste Impact and the Indian Institute of Science, among others.Unlike a regular hackathon, the teams -comprising techies, students and waste pickers -were encouraged to take up an ensuing 45 day challenge to further their ideas so as to bring them closer to implementation.
As futuristic as it may sound, BBMP bought into the idea of the mobile application and agreed for a pilot that will start in January . The team will receive financial backing from Social Venture Partners to conduct the pilot.
Team member Wisvesh BS, who works for Infosys, said, “The BBMP Joint Commissioner (for solid waste management) Sarfaraz Khan was very excited about the project as it will be easier to impose a fine on households that are not segregating." The application will also assist the impending cleanup marshals programme to locally identify and impose a fine on defaulters.
Another other idea born at the same hackathon and progressed to a working prototype is also going to be applied on the field. Called Prixie, it is a mechanical tool that separates plastic from metal in discarded wires. This will empower hundreds of households in slums around Bengaluru and engaged in manually (and unsafely) scraping plastic from wires.
Continuity is a challenge that often prevents such projects from seeing on-ground implementation, said Gayitri Handanahal, Director of Alliances, Waste Impact. “ All ideas could be implemented. But the success lies in the willingness and commitment of the teams to sustain the project," she said.
While in the case of the Waste Samaritans, the idea moved forward with their involvement, in the case of Prixie, the team that came up with the idea is no longer a unit. The organizers of the hackathon themselves took the idea forward. With the first machine expected in ten days, they are all set to start work in the slums in Nayandahalli, off Mysuru Road. “We are exploring a community cooperative or self-help group model," Handanahal said.
The success of REimagiNEWaste may signify the coming of age of social hackathons in the city.Engagement with all stakeholders including waste pickers, NGOs, funding agencies and the BBMP ensured that not all ideas went to die after the event.